Community members from Traditional Authority (TA) Nyambi in Machinga have destroyed a K55 million solar powered irrigation scheme saying it was bringing them misfortunes.
The Malawi News Agency reported that the villagers, on March 22 this year, damaged equipment at Ulongwe Irrigation Scheme and stole items including solar installation equipment valued at K12 million, two water pumps, 16 solar panels, two batteries, two charging systems, four wheelbarrows and galvanised pipes.
Deputy Police spokesperson for Machinga Police Station, Ngwashape Msume said residents from Senior Chief Nyambi’s area mobilised themselves and damaged the irrigation scheme.
Msume said the villagers told police that misfortunes started in 2018 when government through the Climate Proofing project was constructing the irrigation Scheme.
“One woman, Daina John of Mapiri Village in the area of T/A Nyambi in Machinga died when a galvanised pipe landed on her chest as she was helping to offload pipes from a vehicle,” Msume said.
Learners from Malundani Primary School which is close to the scheme have also been collapsing and getting unconscious mysteriously.
“One of the girls who collapsed told community members that she was picked up by abiti (Miss) John, the woman who died at the scheme site,” Msume said.
The villagers, upon hearing the girl’s claim, damaged the irrigation scheme. However, police are yet to arrest any suspect but they are investigating the matter.
The Climate Proofing Project, under which the scheme was constructed, was implemented in Mangochi and Machinga from 2015 to 2019 to the tune of US$ 5,180,200.